Space tourism: would you make an all-expenses paid trip?

August 02, 2012, 10:31 AM GMT+0

According to a recent study into the future of outer-space travel, the burgeoning commercial space travel industry could bring in as much as £1 billion in its first decade of operation, driven largely by “high-net-worth individuals” with dreams of seeing earth from the heavens, and the funds needed to make it a reality.

Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic is aiming to offer a commercial service from 2014, with space flights costing around £130k. The company, which is currently testing its SpaceShipTwo, a six-passenger, two-pilot spacecraft, has said it already has £45 million in deposits from 536 people hoping to be among the world’s first space tourists.

In YouGov’s ShoppingLab, we wanted to learn who among our panellists had unsatisfied dreams of space travel, by asking:

Given the chance, and if all expenses were paid for, would you go into space?

The largest proportion of those of those of you who took part said you would leap at the chance to go into space.

  • You told us it was a “once in a lifetime opportunity” that would crazy to pass up – especially if it was free!
  • Many said they’d always dreamed of going into space, and that it had been a childhood fantasy fuelled by sci-fi films and books, as well as watching real astronauts on TV.
  • You told us that seeing Earth from so high up would be the most special thing about the experience.

A rather small proportion of participants said they would, by contrast, pass on the chance to go into space.

  • The main reason participants in this group said they would not want to travel to outer-space was that they were concerned about safety, and feared not coming back.
  • Many said they simply liked where they were (on Earth) and saw no reason to go into space.

VIEWPOINT: 'Given the chance, I would go into space'

To go into space, to see the world and experience the great vastness of space is an opportunity that I would leap at. Space has always been fascinating to me, and to actually go up into space, to look down on the world would be breath-taking. It is also an experience that so few have had, how could you turn down an opportunity such as that?Anon

To be able to see the whole of the world as one planet rather than as separate countries would be really good. Maybe if everyone could see it, then perhaps we could all get on and stop these pointless warsFB, Wigan

I have been waiting for this all my life. We were promised in those long gone days of the 60s and 70s that space exploration was the way to go, that the Human Race was destined for the stars, only to be cheated by penny-pinching governments that stole the money for that future – our future – for pointless wars and propping up banking scams. It’s about time we got the future back, to touch the sky again. As Julia Ecklar sang in her song ‘One Way To Go’ from the album ‘Minus Ten and Counting’, the only way to go from here is out!” Dee D, Yorkshire

I was born in 1971 and always wanted to go to the moon, and now that the chance is possible it would be stupid to miss out on that opportunity. Maybe I would be really nervous before lift-off but just as with aeroplanes once you're in the air it’s okay” A, Swansea

“For me, it would be one of the very few travel experiences that I would contemplate being worthwhile going through the security process, in order to take. The experience of weightlessness would be my main incentive to go, and then to see Earth from the prospective of an alien, the moon close up, and off into distant space would be worth the effort and the nausea. However, I suspect I would tire of the experience very quickly, so a day trip would be sufficient I can see no benefit in taking an extended trip and one overnight stay would be sufficient” David B, Yorkshire

It was my dream to go on Concorde, but lack of money prevented me, so even as I am a pensioner I would go into space instantlyMaureen, Orpington

Although it would be terrifying, as if it did go wrong there would be no recovery, it would still be the most wondrous, most unnatural thing you could do. To be able to see Andromeda of Jupiter without the haze of the atmosphere would be amazingLondon

I've always dreamed of it: my first real memories as a kid were watching the moon landing. I'm not a scientist and too old to qualify and then train to be useful astronaut. Space tourism is the only option for me” Anon

VIEWPOINT: 'I would NOT go into space'

I'm quite happy with my feet planted firmly on this planet, thank you very much!Anon

Too mind-blowingly dangerous – other people want to go far more than I do, so let them!” Diana, London

“I'd be scared of never getting back and a horrible death! I'm quite happy to look at pictures and videos which other people take whilst they are up there” Anon

I'm too old and it requires a fit person for space travel. The journey would be more stressful than the enjoyment I would get out of it. It is also a risky form of travel and I don't know how private enterprises would do at providing a comfortable journey” Anon

I would be nervous to go into space, and much prefer the ground of EnglandDavid S, Wirral

One of the astronauts asked if anyone else would be comfortable going into space on vehicle built by the lowest bidder. The risks are too high for the resultDavid, Cambridge

Can't think of any good reason to give up a perfectly good day on earth to go into a vacuum and look back on where I have just come fromChris, North West

Just give me the money – I've got far better uses for itAnon

Given the chance, would you go into space?

And do you think space tourism will be made affordable during your lifetime?